Mike Tyson: From 1980s KO icon to jailed, unpredictable Baddest Man
Mike Tyson gets remembered as one of the most memorable heavyweight fighters ever. However, fans will always question his resume later on in his career.
So why is Tyson at the forefront of boxing fans’ minds so much when we think back to the best boxers down the years?
Well, it’s simple. Mike Tyson knocked people out, and he knocked them out cold.
One of the most destructive runs ever since inside the ropes from 1984 culminated in Tyson becoming the youngest heavyweight champion ever.
That win over Trevor Berbick and a second over Michael Spinks sent shockwaves through the division.
But both men were not world-beaters. That’s why Tyson gets a raw deal when it comes to his legacy.
A defeat to Buster Douglas in 1990, which should never have happened due to a long count earlier in the fight, spelled the beginning of the end.
Upon reviewing Mike Tyson’s career, it’s like they were two separate boxing spells for two very different fighters and mindsets.
Released from prison in 1995 for allegedly raping a woman in a hotel room, Tyson wanted to make up for the lost time. However, it wasn’t for the sake of enhancing his title belts.
Tyson was only interested in getting back the riches he lost. Hence a sideshow of bouts around the world was for the sole purpose of selling Pay Per Views.
Any fighter he did meet with a stellar resume, he lost. The anger surrounding those lost years always seemed to come out when Tyson knew he was up against it.
Against Evander Holyfield in 1996 and 1997, ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ was there for all to see. Tyson was at his unpredictable and ruthless worst.
World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman recalled the punishment laid down on Tyson for the most shocking incident ever witnessed in the sport.
“Punishments for acts that put the physical integrity of athletes and fans at risk must get severely punished,” pointed out Sulaiman.
“Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield, ripping off a piece of it. This caused a terrible pitched battle between fans at the MGM.
“Tyson was fined with $3 million in 1997.”
Fast forward five years, and Tyson had only fought six times in that period. Knowing his time was ending, he agreed to face Lennox Lewis.
Deep down inside, Mike knew he couldn’t win. Lewis was bigger, stronger, and more ambitious. It was a straightforward money-making exercise for Tyson.
Before the first bell had even rung, Tyson hoped to ruffle the feathers of Lewis to achieve his 1980s ritual and beat a man with his reputation.
It didn’t happen even when Mike Tyson went off on one at the press conference after biting Lewis in the leg. It didn’t happen.
As Sulaiman also recollected, his father and predecessor got caught in the crossfire.
“In addition to boxing, Don José [my father] was passionate about other sports, including baseball and soccer.
“He always condemned the violence that generates between fans inside and outside of sports venues.
“Although he tried not to say it publicly, he was the victim of a press conference incident of violence.
“All of a sudden, Tyson takes his hat off and throws it to the ground, and starts marching towards me.”
This is the inside story of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson's infamous 2002 press conference brawl. pic.twitter.com/B7CU4cOIkq
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) November 17, 2020
“In addition to being rendered unconscious for several seconds from a blow that he received to the head, he had the lifelong aftermath of ringing in one of his ears.
“It happened on the morning of January 22nd in New York in a meeting with the media for the match between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.
“Control between both teams was lost, and violence flared.
“They attacked each other, resulting in several of them falling on top of my father, who was behind a curtain.
“The consequences of that forever changed his life.”
MIKE TYSON vs. LEWIS
Tyson lost in eight rounds and was never in the fight against Lewis. He fought three more times, losing twice badly, before hanging up his gloves in 2005.
A changed man these days, Mike Tyson is a much-loved member of the boxing community as he had enjoyed a career on the big screen and stage.
He should get commended for his transformation. But we will never forget how scary Mike Tyson was at the height of his powers.
The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.
Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Founding editor of World Boxing News since 2010, WBN has over one billion views on all platforms.
Attending over 200 events and scoring over 400 fights, Phil has overseen WBN to a quarter of a million followers on social media.
Furthermore, follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.